Media Buying is an excellent way to drive a lot of instant traffic to both your mobile and desktop campaigns but if not conducted properly you can blow through your budget in a number of hours. Since the late 90s I’ve built my businesses on selling and buying media across the Internet. With the number of mobile impressions on the rise I’ve found that many of the same concepts also apply from what I’ve learned on the web. There are several mistakes some marketers make when they’re setting up their first buy: using it as a testing channel, not properly frequency capping, and not enough creatives.
A media buy should not be your first testing channel unless you just have a tremendous budget and you’re in need of a lot of traffic immediately regardless of your ROI. Many of the big brands such as McDonalds, Coke, Best Buy, etc. will simply go to a large advertising network (for both web and mobile) and set a fixed quarterly budget and have it be distributed over the months. Their goal isn’t user performance; it’s getting eyeballs to see their product(s)/logo. If you’re wanting to conduct a media buy where you’re paid a commission on performance you need to make sure you have the basic flow down on a more targeted channel. Pay per click platforms such as Google Adwords or even Facebook can be an effective testing ground so you’re able to pause/resume on the fly and make immediate optimizations if the ROI drops too low. Just because media buying can bring a lot of traffic; it’s far from the holy grail of performance marketing.
Most media buys are priced on CPM (cost per one thousand impressions) meaning you’re going to be charged rather your creative is clicked or not. Selling my own media for many years now, this is the only way I work. It’s not worth my time to work with someone that had ads that weren’t being clicked and are going to waste my impressions (someone out there will buy them). To control this in a performance buy you simply want to add in frequency capping. Most standard buys are capped at 2 impressions per 24 hours for a unique IP address. With mobile, this can be a bit challenging because it’s not uncommon to have duplicate IPs coming from the same cell tower. That’s why it’s essential to bring this up before you start your buy and to negotiate it in your insertion order from the very beginning. You need to ask them how they cap it and make sure to monitor closely. Finally, I like to test my frequency cap depending where I am in the ad chain. If you have a good relationship with your rep ask them where your ad is in relation to other advertisers in the ad chain. The closer you are to the front, the more room you have to expand your frequency cap.
Nine out of ten marketers start their media buy with not nearly enough creatives. Remember what I said above… You’re going to be paying on the impression meaning regardless if the visitor clicks or not. Your CTR (click through rate) is going to make or break your campaign; it’s your competitive advantage. For many years I’ve recommended just starting with one size, above the fold, and then having plenty of creatives loaded up. Depending on the number of impressions in your initial IO it could take up to 100+. Remember the more you have ready to be tested the better of a chance you have at garnering a massive CTR and being able to make your buy return massive ROI.
Those that learn how to media buy effectively boost their revenue quick because the scalability. I recommend growing your buys gradually and only expanding outside to other large websites/ad networks once you’re seeing a good return. Re-invest some of your initial profits and you can grow your campaign to very large levels and enhance your business model within a couple of months.
Ryan Gray is the founder and CEO of NameHero, one of the fastest growing independent web hosts in the United States. Ryan has been working online since 1998 and has over two-decades experience in Internet Entrepreneurship.